Today in the shaded woodlands of Dover, Delaware, the tenth-anniversary edition of Firefly Music Festival will kick off, marking the return of what’s become the premier camping festival in the Northeast. Last year’s edition felt like coming home after years without the festival due to COVID-19, and this year’s lineup boasts the heavy-hitting headliners of a reunited My Chemical Romance, Dua Lipa, Halsey, and Green Day. We’ll be onsite for the weekend making sure you don’t miss out on anything, and this year’s lineup is covered in smaller acts that we think are about to hit the big-time. Keep reading on for our five acts that you don’t want to miss at this year’s Firefly Music Festival —
The Backseat Lovers
When they’re playing: Friday 9/23 — Backyard Stage — 4:45p-5:30p
Sounds like: Indie summertime, Two Door Cinema Club, Grouplove
The Utah-based indie-poppers The Backseat Lovers have had a momentous two years — we caught them at Shaky Knees last October and they drew a massive crowd with their infectious summer jams. After a relentless year of touring behind their debut (and slowly blowing up in the process), the band recently announced that their album Waiting to Spill is coming this October, and their Firefly date is sure to bring new music and an overall good vibe at the Backyard stage.
When she’s playing: Saturday 9/24 — Treehouse Stage — 2:30p-3:00p
Sounds like: Hovvdy, Magdalena Bay, Hippo Campus
Chalk this in for the best set at the intimate Treehouse stage all weekend. Coming off of a run opening for Local Natives this summer, Jordana’s music is described as “bedroom pop” but there’s a wide-screen ambition that makes it significantly more interesting than other artists operating in that lane. She has an intense knack for writing hooks that stick in your head for days, and this seems like the beginning of something very big for the Kansas-born songwriter.
When they’re playing: Saturday 9/24 — Firefly Stage — 5:05p-5:50p
Sounds like: the best rock band on the planet, Cocteau Twins meets The Joy Formidable
We’re cheating a little bit with this pick — obviously, we know and love Wolf Alice a whole lot, and it’s tough to call a band that won a Mercury Prize in 2018 and sold out the bulk of their U.S. tour a low-key pick. However, I firmly believe that they’re about to ascend to festival-headlining status — after opening for Harry Styles in European stadiums this summer and a star-making turn at Reading and Leeds, this might be your last chance to see them in the daytime at any festival.
Anna of the North
When she’s playing: Friday 9/23 — Firefly Stage — 1:15p-2:00p
Sounds like: MUNA, Maggie Rogers
For a minute, it looked like Anna of the North was about to blow up. With features on Tyler, The Creator’s Flower Boy and several of her songs appearing in Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the world seemed primed for takeover from the Norweigian synthpopper. That hasn’t quite happened yet, but her 2022 releases indicate that there’s something big in the works, and I’d be willing to bet that this year is the one that catapults her into pop’s big leagues. With an opening set on the biggest Firefly stage on Friday, this could serve as her big entrance to the festival scene, and you probably ought to pay attention.
Where they’re playing: Sunday 9/25 — Treehouse Stage — 10:25p-10:55p
Sounds like: unbridled joy, Superorganism turned way up
Full disclosure — CHAI has the suboptimal position of being put up against Dua Lipa to close the festival out. However, if you can break away for just a little bit, this set is going to take off over at the Treehouse Stage. The Japanese four-piece is simply a delight to watch live, having recently jumped on tours with Mitski and coming up with Hippo Campus, it’s tough to describe a CHAI show without hyperbolically repeating the pure joy that they express on stage. This band has an ethos that’s hard to match, and it’d be a thrilling way to close out the weekend.